Miguel Crespo was given the death sentence Thursday for the 2013 murder of his cellmate transgender woman Carmen Guerrero at Kern Valley State Prison. The only article currently about the sentencing from an CBS affiliate misgenders the transgender victim and this is unacceptable.
But less palatable are the circumstances that led to her murder, very possibly a conspiracy.
Carmen Guerrero was strangled by Miguel Crespo a convicted murderer after being housed together for less than eight hours.
The Guardian ran an article in 2015 about US prison violence recounting the inexplicable events that resulted in this transgender woman being put in a cell with a killer with self-professed LGBT homicidal tendencies
Guerrero’s previous cellmate, Jonathan Wilson, was her romantic partner. He told the Guardian that he feared for her life following his transfer to another prison. On 28 October 2013, Wilson had been transferred to Salinas Valley state prison without much warning. “I fell for the kindness and sweetness in her heart,” he wrote in a letter. Over the phone, he later said that it didn’t matter to him that Guerrero was a transgender woman and that he loved her and wanted to protect her.
He said that before he left, he tried to request for Guerrero to be placed in a cell with someone who would be “nice” to her, “but the CO didn’t want to”. After a day or two, he heard that Crespo had become her new cellmate.
According to Wilson, Crespo told the CO on duty that he would kill Guerrero if forced to bunk with her. On 1 November 2013, Crespo tied Carmen up, choked her to death, and informed the night CO that he had killed his cellmate.
Crespo was taken into custody, which resulted in his sentence today. But the assistant district attorney who was prosecuting the case wouldn’t confirm at that time whether Guerrero was female, but she did tell me that “everyone referred to [Carmen] as she” and that “by all appearance, [Carmen] presented as a woman”.
Carmen Guerrero, who was serving life for second-degree murder was the fourth inmate killed at Kern Valley State Prison up to that date.
A prison spokesman, Lt. Jeff Smith, said that the propensity for violence in the prison is “very high” among the maximum-security inmates.
The prison, which is between Fresno and Bakersfield, screens inmates before housing them together. Officials will review what might have led to the latest death
May 11, 2018: The Bureau of Prisons in the Department of Justice adopted an illegal policy of almost entirely housing transgender people in federal prison facilities that match their sex assigned at birth, rolling back existing protections. Source National Center For Transgender Equality
The Alliance Defending Freedom, a known hate group, which has conspired with Trump against trans rights in the past, is no longer involved in a suit as the U.S. Supreme Court decides landmark LGBT rights cases according to the Dallas Morning News.